HON PM Voreqe Bainimarama National Statement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-22)
Mr Chairman/ Madam Chair,
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and fellow Heads of Government,
We have made a strong start with the Paris Agreement and we especially welcome the rapid entry into force of that agreement, which Fiji led by becoming the first nation in the world to lodge its ratification instruments. But – fellow leaders and delegates - it is not enough. Not nearly enough. And I urge the global community to go even further than the Paris commitment to keep global temperatures “well below two degrees Celsius” above the temperature of the world in the pre-industrial age.
The Pacific nations – under the Suva Declaration – are pressing for a fresh cap of 1.5 degrees Celsius. And it is becoming increasingly clear from recent scientific evidence that even that may be too high. And that even deeper cuts in carbon emissions are needed to avert catastrophe.
I want to make a special appeal to the President-Elect of the United States, Donald Trump, for a personal change of heart and a public change of policy on the issue of climate change.
Sir, you have said that you do not believe that climate change is man-made and you intend, as president, to cut off America’s contribution to the global effort to reduce carbon emissions. I am especially alarmed by reports that you intend to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, which would be disastrous for every person on earth.
I appeal to you to show the leadership that the rest of the world expects the United States to take on this issue. Please take another look at the overwhelming scientific consensus on the man-made effects of global warming. Please come as a matter of urgency to see for yourself the devastating impact that rising sea levels and extreme weather events are already having on our people and our way of life.
President-Elect Trump, I formally invite you to Fiji and promise you the warmest of welcomes. We will show you how we are already having to move entire communities out of the way of the rising seas. And you can meet the families of the 44 Fijians who were killed last February by the biggest tropical cyclone ever to make landfall in the southern hemisphere.
I repeat: The world looks to America for leadership as we work together to confront this challenge to our survival and the wellbeing of our planet. President-Elect Trump, I appeal to you – for humanity’s sake – to show that leadership and to join our common cause.
Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.